Menstrual period - missed or late
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Does this describe your symptoms?
- Late Menstrual Period: 5 or more days overdue compared to usual menstrual cycle
- Missed Menstrual Period: no menstrual flow for more than 6 weeks
- The first day of menstrual bleeding is considered the first day of a new menstrual cycle.
- Menstrual bleeding typically lasts 3-7 days.
- Ovulation generally occurs around day 14 of the cycle.
- The length of the menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman. The range is from 24 to 35 days. The average is 28 days.
- Pregnancy is the most important cause. This possibility needs to be considered in any woman who has a missed or late period.
- Dieting, exercise and weight loss
- Polycystic ovarian disease
- Birth control pills
- Depoprovera injection
- Pituitary and other endocrine disorders
Home Urine Pregnancy Tests
- Home urine pregnancy tests are inexpensive, accurate, and easy to use. Most drug stores sell these tests over-the-counter .
- Urine pregnancy tests can often diagnose pregnancy during the week after the first missed period (2 weeks after ovulation).
- Use of a first-morning urine specimen is recommended because the urine HCG concentration is highest in the morning.
- When a home pregnancy test is negative, but there is still a high suspicion of pregnancy, the woman should either repeat the test in 3-5 days or go to her doctor's office for testing.
- The urine pregnancy test can sometimes be falsely negative if the urine specimen is very bloody. A small amount of blood (e.g., blood-tinged urine) should not interfere with the accuracy of the test.
- More information is available at: http://www.4woman.gov/faq/pregtest.aspx.
If not, see these topics
|Call 911 Now (you may need an ambulance) If|
- Passed out (fainted)
- Severe abdominal pain
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
- You feel weak or very sick
- Abdominal pain and you are pregnant
- Abdominal pain and you might be pregnant
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
- You have other questions or concerns
- You are pregnant
- You want a pregnancy test done in the office
- Recent weight loss
- Age greater than 45
- Missed 2 or more periods in a row
- Missed period has occurred 2 or more times in the last year
|Self Care at Home If|
- Missed or late period and you don't think you need to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MISSED OR LATE MENSTRUAL PERIOD
And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
- Pregnancy test, when in doubt:
- If there is any possibility of pregnancy, obtain and use a urine pregnancy test from the local drug store.
- Follow the instructions included in the package.
- Stress: Stress can interrupt normal menstrual periods. Try to reduce your stress by talking about it with a friend or family member. Try to avoid or decrease stressors. If this is not effective, seek help from a counselor or talk with your doctor.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pregnancy test is positive
- You have difficulties with the home pregnancy test
- New symptoms suggest pregnancy (e.g., morning sickness, breast tenderness/swelling)
- You need help coping with stress
- You become worse
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: David A. Thompson, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 1/19/2009
Last Revised: 9/21/2007
Content Set: Adult HouseCalls Online
Portions Copyright 2000-2009 Self Care Decisions LLC; Copyright LMS, Inc.